Does your master bedroom have the boring bedroom blues?

Does your master bedroom look more like a place where you sort your laundry or the place you keep your treadmill?  Because we don’t entertain in here, master bedrooms are typically the last room homeowners get around to decorating.  The truth is you spend more time in this room than any other room in your home, so why not create a beautiful and clutter-free master bedroom that gives you total peace of mind.

When designing your new master retreat, I recommend beginning with new bedding and linens. Find a bedding ensemble that you totally fall in love with. The average homeowner can find many great selections at mall department stores such as Belk, Dillard’s, or Macy’s. Another more obvious choice would be Bed, Bath, & Beyond. From here you can make choices regarding wall color, accent colors, window treatments, wall art and other décor. I will walk you through the process.

For a clean and sophisticated master retreat, I chose a white and grey hotel bedding collection as my starting point. Moving on to wall color, I found Sherwin-Williams Exclusive Plum, which happens to be the company’s color of the year. Jackie Jordan, Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing, describes this purple hue as a dusky, filtered violet layered with romantic potential – couldn’t be more fitting for a master bedroom retreat!  Then the homeowner can make selections on window treatments (panels, valences, or a combination of both). Next comes the fun part, filling in with accessories and various décor. I have provided examples in this mood board, a concept often used by interior designers to convey design ideas and inspiration to clients. As a homeowner, keep searching for what appeals to you. Don’t rush the process or settle because in the end you won’t be happy. Once you create your perfect room, you won’t ever want to leave.

Master Bedroom Mood Board

Master Bedroom Mood Board

Posted in bobvila, Decor, Decorating Tips, Interior Design | Tagged , , , , ,

Out with the old, In with the New!

It’s that time of year where our homes are filled with holiday décor and lots of new treasures received from loved ones over Christmas. My children have eighteen aunts and uncles with many of them sending gifts, and it can get overwhelming trying to find a place to put everything! I admit that I have been called a neat freak or control freak, but I recently crossed paths with some REAL control freaks…so much so that they even named their Charlotte-based business “Control Freaks LLC.” Control Freaks was founded in 2009 by Sherri Hopper and Tori Jenkins. The three of us got together to provide some suggestions on what you can do to get your home organized before, during, and after the holidays.

In an ideal world, homeowners should try to conduct a big “purge” before the holidays instead of afterwards in order to make room for new clothes, toys, and gadgets. Depending on the ages of your children, use this season as a time to teach them an important skill, organization. For every one new toy or piece of clothing you receive, remove one or two items from your home. This is something that can be done year round. Home owners should be in the mind set to categorize their items: donate or sell, keep, discard.

Hopper and Jenkins have found that the best way to gain control of any area of a home is to use labeling. Doing so will make maintaining a lot easier. Whether your children will be keeping all their new things in their room or in the bonus room, plan to incorporate labeling. They use an electronic labeler with various containers, but hand-written labels will work too! Homeowners can purchase tags for labeling such as those offered as part of Martha Stewart’s line at Staples. Lastly shelving of some sort can be utilized to create a more organized space for things. IKEA is a great source for affordable organization solutions. I especially like their Expedit line that comes in five different colors and various
sizes with all kinds of insert solutions such as drawers, doors, boxes, baskets or bins. Check out Control Freaks web site at for more photos on ways you can organize your home.

Martha Stewart Home Office TM with Avery TM Chalkboard Labels

Labeling storage bins and baskets will help keep your home more organized.


Tori Jenkins and Sherri Hopper own Control Freaks LLC. They help bring control to your home!

Wire Basket Organizers

Labeling bins and baskets and shelving units are key ingredients.

IKEA Office Niche

IKEA Expedit shelving unit and desk help organize this youth bedroom.

Posted in Decorating Tips, Home Organization, Home Staging Tips | Tagged , , , ,

Painting: Small investment yields big returns

I always tell my clients that paint is one of the least expensive home improvements a home owner can make, with the largest amount of return on investment (especially if homeowners are able to do the work themselves).  Painting as a home improvement project is not limited to just to your drywall interiors, as just about any surface can be transformed with a couple coats of paint!

When we moved into our current home many years ago, we didn’t necessarily have the funds to update everything that needed updating at the time.  We had one of those “not-so-beautiful” brass chandeliers from the 1990’s in our kitchen, so I decided to update the fixture with some paint and accessories.   I spray painted it crème and purchased some cute little shades that I covered with a sage green gingham check fabric and finished off with green trim.  The total cost of this project was about $30 which cost significantly less than purchasing a new chandelier.

Most recently during staging consultations with clients looking to sell, I made some suggestions with respect to paint that surprised both the realtor and sellers.  The first home had a garage that had been converted into living space with heated square footage and was the largest room in the home.  It had been finished with wood panel walls by the previous owners, and the current homeowners were looking to sell because of corporate relocation.  I recommended painting the paneling with one of my favorite “go-to” staging colors Kilim Beige by Sherwin Williams.  It turned out great and the clients’ home showed well.  They received two full-price offers within days of listing.

Before & after paint paneling

The second consultation was a previously foreclosed home where the investors painted the dated brick fireplace.  The color I suggested for this makeover was Sherwin Williams Alabaster.  Paint totally lightened and brightened this dingy fireplace, and the Italian countryside canvas art provided a pop of color to create a great focal point in this room.  This home sold in just 37 days.

Fireplace B&A

As you can see, painting was well worth these sellers’ investment in both time and money.  Just about anything can be painted, you just need to determine which type of paint is best to use for your application.  If you’re not sure, ask a representative at your local paint store.  These professionals are a great resource for homeowners since paint is their expertise.  What item in your home is waiting for a fresh look with a new coat of paint?

Posted in bobvila, Home Improvement, Home Staging Tips | Tagged , , ,

Fall decorating with Mason jars

While Christmas is just around the corner, we still have one more month of fall to enjoy.  Fall is a time to celebrate pumpkins, pilgrims, turkeys, and mason jars.  Yes, I said mason jars.  Traditionally used to preserve fruits and vegetables with its vacumm seal, crafters everywhere are putting on their own spin on the mason jar by transforming the functional jar into creative fall décor.  I would like to feature some of these crafters that I found online this week:

Modge Podge Halloween Jars by Rachel at R&R Workshop:  complete DIY directions can be found at

Halloween Mason Jar Crafts by R&R workshop

Mason Jar Candle Holders by Melissa at :  She suggests filling jars with anything from marbles to cranberries to candy corn to achieve the festive look you desire.


“THANKS” jars from – designer unknown.  Last year I crafted a similar design I found on using miniature pumpkins to spell out the word “Thanks” on my mantle.  This year I found these cute jars that would make a great table centerpiece for Thanksgiving.


I am very thankful for all my family, friends, clients, and readers of this blog.  I wish all of you a very happy thanksgiving.  Thank you for reading!

Posted in Decorating Tips, Fall Crafts, Halloween Crafts | Tagged , , ,

Ain’t Too Shabby is pretty Chic – Cornelius, NC Home & Garden Shop


Ain’t Too Shabby is a home and garden shop located in Cornelius that has been open for years, but only recently did I stumble upon this quaint store that carries unique pieces of furniture dating from the 1800’s to the 1960’s.  The store was formerly located in Oak Street Mill in downtown Cornelius but recently expanded and is now located in the former Treasure Express store on Statesville Road.

This store attracts collectors of vintage furniture, decorators, and homeowners in general who define their style as “Shabby Chic” or “Cottage Chic”.  Shoppers will find that the store is filled with vintage bedroom furniture, dining sets, accent tables and chairs, and accessories.  What makes this store unique from other antique stores is that many pieces of furniture for sale can be custom painted to a color that will work with your décor.   The store offers two lines of paint colors including Van Gogh Chalk Paints and The Original Milk Paints.  Those looking for a creative outlet can learn the art of chalk painting themselves by taking a class offered at the store.


Ain’t Too Shabby’s inventory is flexible and diverse.  The store recently started accepting high quality consignment pieces through its new Divine Design Consignment division where they donate 10% of each consignment sale to a local Christian Charity.  The store also carries handmade jewelry, soaps, and gourmet food.  Whether you’re an avid collector of vintage furniture, an interior designer/decorator, or just plain hungry, you may want to consider Ain’t Too Shabby in Cornelius for your next shopping outing.

Gourmet Food Selection

Gourmet Food Selection

Handmade Jewelry

Handmade Jewelry


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Decorating with Family Heirlooms

A main part of my job is helping home sellers depersonalize their home so others can envision themselves living there.  But when it comes to living in your home, you should personalize your space to reflect your tastes, passions, and personality.  One of the most personal and affordable way to accomplish this would be to decorate your home using family heirlooms.   Such pieces are a reflection of who we are and where we come from.  I have several family heirlooms on display in my home and they are a pleasant reminder of family that is no longer with me.

I inherited two antique dressers and a dressing table from my great-grandmother many years ago.  I had these pieces refinished and currently the dressers provide storage for linens and keepsakes.  I converted the dressing table into a foyer piece by removing its mirror.

Most recently I lost my Grandmother last fall.  She was such a fun grandma with a great personality and was very passionate about her favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers!  My memories of her home included two mid-century modern arm chairs and a molded brass bull and matador that rested on her big box, “old school” television for as long as I can remember.  With the blessing of the rest of my large extended family, I was gifted these treasures from my grandmother’s estate.  (My family is still probably trying to figure out why on earth I wanted the bull and matador.  Nonetheless they now sit proudly on display on top of a bookshelf in my own home.)

Mid-Century Modern Arm Chairs Before Makeover

Mid-Century Modern Arm Chairs Before Makeover

The chairs were quite dated and needed repairs.  I had the wood frames refinished and made new cushions.  I went a little bold and chose an indigo blue zebra stripe fabric from a local fabric store.  This new fresh look allows them to blend nicely with my decor, yet still preserving the integrity of the heirloom from years past.  While this space is not complete, I wanted to give you a visual of the chairs.  I hope to find another piece of furniture such as a table, console, or shelving unit with lamp, but design takes time and I’ll keep searching for just the right piece.

After Makeover:  New cushions covered with indigo blue zebra stripe fabric

After Makeover: New cushions covered with indigo blue zebra stripe fabric

Don’t overlook the potential to incorporate heirloom furniture or accessories in your home.  Blending the old with the new can create a fun and eclectic style.  If the heirloom does not quite fit in the look of your home, consider a fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or re-upholster with new fabric that suits your style.  You will be glad you preserved these timeless treasures for enjoyment by your family and generations to come.

My great-grandmothers sitting in the chairs back in the 1960's

My great-grandmothers sitting in the chairs back in the 1960′s

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Staging with Style and Color: Nautical Americana

Nautical Americana Living Room


Real estate has not slowed this summer like we experienced in recent years.  It’s like the spring selling season stretched right through summer, and we are busier than ever before!  When staging new listings, we often start with a blank slate which could better be described as a vacant home with neutral carpeting and vanilla colored walls.  While a neutral color palette is recommended for selling, it doesn’t give a buyer much to look at.  Staging helps make a home more appealing, allowing buyers to visualize themselves living there.

I would like to feature a a design plan for a home staged during the month of July.  The living room featured here was part of a staging project in a waterfront ranch home located on Lake Norman.  The only sofa that I had in stock in my warehouse at the time was a brightly colored RED sofa (we own staging inventory that we lease to our clients on a month to month basis).  At first I thought I was going to have to go out and buy new living room furniture for this job, but then I found inspiration from the recent celebration of Independence Day and incorporated a Nautical Americana design theme.  A red, white, and blue color scheme was used to achieve this.  I found the fun lobster and fish pillows at Home Goods along with the red striped jute area rug.  The distressed carved wooden lamps with burlap shades came from Kirkland’s in nearby Birkdale Village.  I accessorized the room with an airy white metal lantern on the floor, and, lastly, the tray of margaritas and crystalized limes sets the stage for buyers that living in this home will be like a year-round vacation!  We strive to create atmospheres that buyers will love and to help achieve the sellers goal of selling their home in their desired time frame at an optimal market price.

Posted in bobvila, Decor, Lake Norman Home Staging, Real Estate | Tagged , , ,